Walmart’s promised hourly wage increase raises income and questions

Aaron Tsatskis, Contributing Writer

In a recent article published by the Wall Street Journal, Walmart announced that 425,000 of their employees will receive a significant raise in their wages. According to Walmart, the coronavirus has boosted business demand for workers who engage in online orders, prompting the proposed increase.

This raise in pay will happen for workers in both the digital and stocking departments. These aforementioned roles were crucial to Walmart’s success during the pandemic, as customers picked up their orders that were prepared by these employees and shelves of cleaning supplies were constantly being replenished to provide for the customers visiting the store. As of March 13, wages in these sectors will increase to between $13 and $19 per hour. However, as their wages rise, it was quickly added that these employees will no longer receive their quarterly bonus following the first quarter this year. In response to no longer having a bonus the next quarter, a Walmart spokeswoman said, “The overwhelming majority of our associates say their hourly wages are the most important part of their pay.” So workers for whom this raise applies to seem to be on board with Walmart’s new idea.

Based on customers’ recent behavior during the pandemic, Walmart believes they need to provide their customers with timely deliveries and stocked shelves. Walmart has recorded that in the last quarter U.S visits decreased about 10.9 percent, while the average amount spent by customers per trip increased by 21.9 percent. It is clear that Walmart has a new idea for how their company will be running for the next few years. The emphasis they place on their new efficient online and quick pick-up shopping experience allows the public to believe the store could be changing the way they have been functioning since its opening. The pandemic has caused less browsing the shelves – as seen by the decrease in customer trip times – so it will be interesting to see how Walmart and other retailers will adapt to the new lifestyle the pandemic has created.

Truthfully, I do believe that some of the employees could deserve a raise if it prompts Walmart to change their approach to managing their business. However, I also believe this could have a negative view for employees in other departments. If Walmart begins to value these jobs less, they will slowly want to decrease the number of employees and will never be encouraged to increase their wages. It is clear that the employees of departments will not react well to these new changes, perhaps diving the workforce and raising conflict in the workplace.

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